In a book I'm reading, a character named Tolliver is briefly mentioned. This name seems to me to have huge potential, and yet it's extremely rare in the U.S.: not even five babies were given the name in 2010. (The Social Security Administration gives out name data only for names given to five or more babies; Tolliver is not in their database, so it could have been given to one, two, three, or four babies---or to no babies at all.)
Periodically we have a parent mention that they like the name Oliver but the other parent doesn't like it, or they don't like the nickname Ollie, or they don't like the orphan/cat association, or it's way too common. Tolliver has the potential to solve any of those four problems, as well as solving any problem where the initial O would be difficult but the initial T would not. For parents looking for a highly-unusual-but-not-weird-or-made-up name (a common request here), Tolliver feels familiar despite its rarity because of the popularity of Oliver. And it's an old established surname name, so it fits in there as well---and would be especially perfect for a family with Tollivers in their family tree.
As to whether it might cause confusion to have Tollivers mixing with Olivers, I think a very close comparison study would be Madelines and Adelines. Probably there is the occasional confusion---but not enough to mean only one of those names can be used.
Mull it over a bit, say it out loud a few times, picture it on some real people of various ages, and then let's have a poll over to the right to see what we think of it. [Poll closed; see results below.]
Poll results (295 votes total):
I love it! I'd use it! - 14 votes (5%)
I like it! I'd consider it! - 31 votes (11%)
I like it for someone else's baby - 92 votes (31%)
No particular opinion - 26 votes (9%)
Slight dislike - 85 votes (29%)
Strong dislike - 47 votes (16%)
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...